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I smiled as I watched Decentius disappear; there was something about him I couldn’t help but like. Antonius, however, was another matter. I turned back to face him and saw his glare unchanged. You’d think a slave would show a little more respect for his master, especially one with Decentius’ powers. Apparently Antonious didn’t share my opinion. Once Decentius had fully vanished into the darkness, Antonius turned his glare on me.
It didn’t last long, all I had to do was give him the merest hint of a smile and his expression softened. No, there was nothing soft about Antonious; calm, perhaps, was more accurate.
“Yes, gentildonna, what is it you wish me to do?” He looked at me expectantly.
“Nothing, just now,” I said, and watched his brows rise. “Actually, I would like you to walk with me a moment.” I had no desire to seduce Antonius, it would be demeaning, but he had responded strongly to my opening moves. First I needed to know if he knew any more about Decentius than Cloelie. I placed my hand on Antonius’ arm and guided him down the hall. “Tell me, Antonius, why do you glare after your master so?” I murmured, opening my eyes wide and batting my lashes.
Antonius’ face took on that spellbound expression he’d worn when I encountered him in the laundry. And I hadn’t even had to use an ability to do it. It surprised me that Decentius would choose such an easily manipulated slave.
“It is nothing, gentildonna, that should worry one such as you,” Antonius simpered.
“Oh, no, Antonius, I wish you to feel comfortable sharing with me. Your master and I share many interests, I’m sure he wouldn’t mind.” I kept my expression open, and focused on Antonius. It was not as though I would be hurt if I accidently ran into something.
Antonius narrowed his expression and twisted his fingers reflexively causing my bracelets to jangle. “He has told you what I am?” I nodded, though Decentius had told me nothing; implied something, but I was not sure what just yet. “It was my reward for helping him deal with Neo.” The bestial expression I had seen on Antonius’ face earlier reappeared; he seemed to be savouring a memory. I simply nodded again and waited for him to continue. “I found him, and he killed him. It was only fair, Neo had taken everything from Demetri, and now he took everything from Neo.” I could see Antonius’ teeth poking out as her grinned. So he and Decentius had been responsible for the death of someone named Neo on behalf of someone named Demetri. I was still missing something, and this brought me no nearer the mystery of the child.
“Yes, only fair,” I nodded. “It was a pity about the child,” I said, desperately hoping I was right.
Antonius snorted. “The child, the wife, the friend. It would be a pity if they had held him back. But they’re all dead know, and he’s better for it.” There was a wild gleam in Antonius’ eyes, and I doubted his concern for Decentius.
“Yes, true, but none of that explains why you glare at him so,” I said, turning the conversation back so that Antonius would not recall the detour. I was certain Decentius would detect any tampering with Antonius’ mind, I would just have to distract him the old fashioned way.
“He likes it,” Antonius muttered. I refrained from rolling my eyes. “Is there something you want of me or not...gentildonna?”
I sighed. “Yes, there are three large mahogany trunks at my former place of work in Siracusae; I wish them brought here.” I stopped walking and leaned against the wall. “The bordello is on the northeast road from the square. The dominatrice will likely give you trouble, but,” I leaned forward and smiled up into Antonius’ dark eyes, “nothing you can’t handle, I’m sure.”
A smile of predatory anticipation grew across Antonius’ face. “Do you permit me to deal with any trouble, gentildonna?” His eyes bore into mine.
“Yes,” I breathed, slightly unnerved. What, precisely, had Decentius rewarded him with?
“Good.” Antonius bared his teeth in a grin, and turned back to his quarters. “I will return with your trunks when the deed is done, gentildonna,” he growled over his shoulder.
As I watched him march back through the shadows, I reflected that it was good there was no one at the bordello to whom I was attached.